Village Council Meeting Minutes - March 1, 2016



The Miami Shores Village Council held their regularly scheduled Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in the Council Chambers of Village Hall. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM with the following individuals present:

PRESENT:                        Alice Burch

                                           Steven Zelkowitz

                                           Mac Glinn           (arrived during the Sewer & Water Main project status report)

                                           Herta Holly

                                           Ivonne Ledesma

ALSO PRESENT:             Tom Benton, Village Manager

                                           Barbara Estep, Village Clerk

                                           Richard Sarafan, Village Attorney



Councilwoman Ivonne Ledesma presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Brockway Memorial Library in recognition of their work with the Miami Shores People of Color for Black History Month programming.



1)       VILLAGE CLERK                                                                        Barbara A. Estep


Councilwoman Holly moved approval of the February 16, 2016 Council Meeting Minutes. Vice Mayor Zelkowitz seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

2)           VILLAGE MANAGER                                                              Tom Benton       


Mr. Benton introduced the item and advised that Public Works Director, Scott Davis, would provide additional information regarding the project. Mr. Davis provided the Council with a brief summary of the scope of services, the bid process and the results of the bids received. Mr. Davis recommended that the Council award the bid to FG Construction. No one in attendance wished to speak on the issue. Councilwoman Holly moved to accept the Staff recommendation. Vice Mayor Zelkowitz seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Mr. Benton provided the Council with a status report on the infrastructure project, including the work that had been completed, permits that are still pending with the County, and the next steps towards project completion. Mr. Benton indicated that the contractors are indicating that they are on schedule for completion late in July, 2016.

Councilman Glinn arrived at this time.

In response to a question posed by Councilwoman Ledesma regarding a report of yellow water, Mr. Benton advised that the County was called out and tested the water. The County indicated that there was no reason for the water to be discolored as there has been no work done on the current water line.

Resident Michael Morejon spoke about the sewer line being installed along 97th Avenue and the permitting issue which resulted in the line being installed in the Village’s right-of-way rather than the road which had been anticipated. Mr. Morejon was asked to speak to the Village Manager following the meeting.

Councilwoman Ledesma asked Mr. Benton to address the permitting issue, which he explained was a change by the County when they issued the permit and was not what was originally designed. The misunderstanding was addressed as quickly as possible with the disturbed swales restored to their original (or better) condition. Mr. Benton indicated that he could provide periodic updates to the Council regarding the project’s status.    

3)       VILLAGE COUNCIL                                                                   Alice Burch


Mayor Burch offered introductory remarks regarding the issue of a dog park and referred to a study done by Staff in 2005. Mayor Burch spoke of the differences between Miami Shores and other communities that have a majority of condominiums and high rise buildings that have dog parks. Dog owners in Miami Shores have yards and streets to walk their dogs, unlike some communities in the area.   Mayor Burch clarified that the community center project will not have space available to dedicate for a dog park.   Mayor Burch indicated that the County’s ordinance regarding animals has changed and now allows for “dog friendly” parks which allow leashed dogs into the County’s parks.                      

Council Members offered their opinions on the subject of a dog park including the fact that many residents want a dog park but there is limited park space and neighborhood opposition from those living adjacent to the Village’s parks. Council Members also voiced the thought that the issue may be better discussed during the upcoming visioning session and resident budget workshop.

Mayor Burch opened the floor for Public Comment:

Jerry Lance          Mr. Lance spoke about the Optimist Club and their contributions to Optimist Park.

Bob Smith           Mr. Smith talked about living next to Optimist Park and the number of residents and local employees utilize the park to play with their children, eat lunch under the trees and spend quiet time throughout the day. Mr. Smith urged the Council not to consider Optimist Park for a dog park.

Gary Green          Mr. Green, also a resident who lives adjacent to Optimist Park spoke of his family’s use of the park on a regular basis. He is in favor of a dog park but not at Optimist Park.    

Jack Efromson                  Mr. Efromson agreed that the issue of a dog park is a complex problem in trying to find space which is not adjacent to homes but indicated that dogs off leashes allow for better socialization. He expressed his belief that space can be found.

Janet Goodman                 Resident and dog trainer, Ms. Goodman spoke of “dog friendly” parks and indicated that a regular dog park does not need to be extravagant. She spoke of Albert Ruder, past parks director of Miami.

Albert Paredes                   Mr. Paredes who lives across the street from Constitution Park, spoke about when that park was considered a likely location for a dog park and spoke about the continuing activity at the park associated with the recreation department.

Elizabeth CowenMs. Cowan indicated that there should be a way to put a dog park in Miami Shores.

Sebastian Cannata             Mr. Cannata spoke of living around Constitution Park and agrees that a study of a possible location for a dog park is warranted.

Myriam Rojas                    Ms. Rojas spoke in favor of a dog park, believing that users would police each other to make sure the park is maintained.

Steven Shulman                 Mr. Shulman spoke of the staff study done in 2005 and the fact that off-leash dogs allow for better socialization. Mr. Shulman indicated that Optimist Park is not an ideal spot and his belief that Constitution Park is the best fit.

As no one else wished to speak, Mayor Burch closed public comment and spoke about the possibility of having the downtown design criteria firm review placement of a dog park, and/or discussion during the future visioning session and asked whether any of the Council would make a motion. Vice Mayor Zelkowitz indicated that the design firm should focus only on downtown, not a dog park and suggested that more in-depth discussions take place before any action is taken. Councilwoman Ledesma stated that making the parks “dog friendly” would be a good option for the time being and moved to make all parks dog friendly. The motion died for lack of a second.

Vice Mayor Zelkowitz stated that he would like to know the cost involved in making the parks dog friendly, i.e. waste bad dispensers and receptacles, signage, and maintenance, before he would feel comfortable voting to do so. Councilwoman Ledesma then moved to have staff research the costs of making Optimist Park, Memorial Park, Constitution Park and Bayfront Park dog friendly. Vice Mayor Zelkowitz seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.


Ms. Estep read the announcements.


Elizabeth CowenMs. Cowen spoke about the traffic poles at N.E. 95th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Janet Goodman                 Ms. Goodman asked whether the dog park issue will be raised during the visioning session.

Steven Shulman                 Mr. Shulman spoke further about a dog park and possibly having volunteers raise funds for continuing maintenance.

John Ise                              Mr. Ise spoke of the importance of making the Village more dog friendly and more bicycle friendly.


MacAdam Glinn                Councilman Glinn wished his wife a Happy Anniversary and thanked her for letting him attend the meeting. He briefed the Council on his recent trip to Tallahassee to speak on behalf of the Village regarding funding projects.

Steven Zelkowitz              Vice Mayor Zelkowitz indicated that the dog park issue would be raised again and thanked everyone for their attendance.

Herta Holly                        Councilwoman Holly reiterated that she is not against a dog park but doesn’t know where the Village can find the room for one. Councilwoman Holly urged residents to attend Unity Day.

Alice Burch                       Mayor Burch thanked Councilwoman Ledesma for crafting a motion regarding the dog park issue that everyone could agree on. Mayor Burch called attention to information on the dais regarding charter school capital outlay funding legislation and that Friday is Bike-to-Work day.

7)         ADJOURNMENT

The March 1, 2016 Council meeting was adjourned at 8:06 PM.


                                                                                                                   Alice Burch, Mayor


Barbara A. Estep, MMC

Village Clerk